Treaties, States Parties and Commentaries
Treaties and Documents
Geneva Conventions of 1949 and Additional Protocols, and their Commentaries
Historical Treaties and Documents
Convention (III) relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War. Geneva, 12 August 1949.
[p.242] ARTICLE 40
. -- BADGES AND DECORATIONS
Despite the categorical wording of Article 19
of the 1929 Convention, badges of rank and decorations were often taken away from prisoners of war during the Second World War. This was a direct attack on their dignity and honour and constituted a violation of the requirement that prisoners of war must be treated with due regard to their rank (Article 21, paragraph 2
It was, however, not always the result of any deliberate action, but rather of negligence, particularly when worn-out uniforms were withdrawn and replaced by new clothing with no provision for the wearing of badges of rank and nationality on the latter (1).
Article 40 of the new Convention therefore corresponds to Article 19
of the 1929 Convention, with an additional reference to badges of nationality. It is supplemented by Article 18, paragraph 3
, which specifies that following capture, prisoners of war must be allowed to keep badges and decorations, and also by Article 87, paragraph 4
, which forbids the Detaining Power to deprive a prisoner of war of his rank or to prevent him from wearing his badges as a penal or disciplinary sanction.
* (1) [(1) p.242] See ' Report of the International Committee of
the Red Cross on its activities during the Second World
War ', Vol. I, pp. 250-251. See also ' Report on the Work
of the Conference of Government Experts ', p. 153;